Olaf Build Guide by DuffTime
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
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It's OlafTime here guys.
I wasn't originally going to make a guide on Olaf, because quite frankly, I like having the secret tricks that make him stronger than what all the other Olaf players are able to achieve.
I enjoy using my unique rune pages and seeing the shock of my opponent when they thought that Rumble would counter pick me, and I come into lane with 70+ MR at level 1 with BOOTS.
I also recognize that not every player has access to all of the runes that I possess, and won't be willing to sink IP into all the special runes I choose to use for a champion who in all likelihood is just going to get nerfed soon anyway.
However, due to popular demand, I've had an overwhelming amount of requests from people who want to know how I build my Olaf, what runes I use, etc.
THE PEOPLE HAVE REQUESTED THE SECRETS~
THE PEOPLE SHALL HAVE THEIR SECRETS. YES THEY SHALL.
A little background.
How comfortable am I with Olaf?
Well, in Season 1 I used Olaf to hit Gold rank. This was before all of the recent buffs, which included an armor buff and the removal of the mana cost on E.
Me and my duo partner only lost 5 out of 30 games we played, and we did the same thing every game over those games. AP Kog'Maw mid, Olaf jungle.
I was never -completely- satisfied with Olaf during those games however. I felt he was almost "Free win" status if you could complete your gear, but he was so weak during the middle of the game. It bothered me.
Well it's sorta funny the way things work out. I had recently made the transition back to being a solo top player (It's what I'm best at) and was maining Cho'Gath and Sion at the time. I was using unique rune pages that I developed and was having great success.
So one day we do a MobaFire in house game, and I find myself top lane Vrs Symphunny. He was Olaf, I was Cho'Gath. I thought to myself, "Free win dude, there's no ****ing way Olaf can lane vrs Cho'Gath and I basically MAIN Olaf so I know all the secrets. Easy."
Well long story short, I BARELY won the lane and he felt pretty strong. This was a HUGE surprise to me, because with Cho'Gath, I generally CRUSH my lane. I don't just win my lane, I crush it.
I told him GG's later and he seemed a bit upset but I couldn't understand why, hahah.
I immediately put on my try hard pants, and took Olaf solo top a bunch of games.
I quickly began to realize that while Symphunny had accidentally discovered something great, he wasn't using it to it's full potential. Over the course of about 100 games using solo top Olaf, I believe I have "Perfected" the new style of play if you will.
Over time, I began to feel that defense yielded better results than offense.
Gradually, my runes and masteries and items shifted and became aimed to achieve TWO goals. Early game sustain and survivability, and late game tankiness, and that's it. It might sound backwards to some Olaf players who like to build lots of damage and life steal and abuse his passive, but I will do my best to explain how building big tankiness and durability actually BETTER abuses what lifesteal and attack speed in the passive that Olaf does possess.
This is the result of experience, trial, and error. This is functional, practical, and has been tested in about 50 live matches, and well over 50 custom 1v1 top matches to test lane match ups.
So how does Olaf solo top work, Duff?
Olaf is very capable of solo top. He has sustain in his W, and when you pair that with Wriggle's you're in the lane for keeps.
The trick is making sure you GET Wriggle's Lantern without losing the lane too hard.
Olaf is admittedly fragile early on, and VERY gear dependent, more so than your average solo top champion.
What you'll want to do in most lanes (There are a few exceptions, Renekton is one example of a champion who will generally win vrs Olaf early), AT LEVEL 1, is farm carefully, but watch your opponent. When they go to get a last hit, AUTO ATTACK THEM, Q THEM, AND AUTO ATTACK THEM AGAIN, PICK UP YOUR AXE, AND WALK AWAY. Not many champions can trade with that amount of damage. It's very fast, easy to land, and hard to trade against.
You can start to zone right from level one if you hurt them badly enough.
At level 2, just add your E into the mix. Auto attack, IMMEDIATELY Q-E and land another auto attack and walk away. This time the burst is higher and they will think twice.
Use a HP pot to keep your HP higher than theirs so you can continue using your E.
That's the trick of the trade~ Your E is your most devastating skill, and now that it does not cost mana, you are free to spam it away as long as you have HP. That's the reason for taking the HP pots -ALWAYS-
You will always start cloth armor 5 pots, or boots 4 pots. This will allow you to catch ranged units, and E them, or to trade with melee's and easily zone them.
You'll need every bit of strength early that you can get, so I take a bit of HP regen in masteries, the HP pots, occasionally activate my W for more healing, etc.
Early on, use your Q and E in combination to harass and zone if you can. Don't miss creeps, but if you have a level 3 E and your opponent comes too close, sometimes it -is- worth missing a creep to get your big damage onto your opponent for free. The trade might be one creep, for control of the lane, and that may cause your opponent to lose more creeps in the process.
Once you have your vamp scepter, stop using your Q for harass. At this point, Q becomes a chasing tool to land your E and nothing more.
Use all of your mana for W. Trust me, your opponent is going to go nuts trying to hurt you. You will then W and heal off of creeps, and E them any time they try to creep. Ranged champions are annoying but you can make them waste their time and miss creeps if you're skilled and careful about it. Sometimes squishy carries can be zoned with one or two well placed E's. That's why carries don't belong in the solo lane. This is bruiser town.
You might think I'm joking when I say this, but as soon as you get Wriggle's Lantern, the lane is yours.
Congratulations, you win lane for free, for absolutely no reason~
Your W will start to grow in levels, and every time you attack a minion you'll heal for 40-50 HP. Then you just walk up and E your opponent and get free damage.
Hell, I even trade with the tower to get my E off on them. I know I'm just gonna W and heal to full.
Once I have Wriggle's Lantern, the name of the game changes.
I push every wave to the tower, and walk right at my opponent, even if I don't plan to E them, just to make them lose creeps and zone control while the tower works.
I do this on every single wave.
You might be thinking, "WTF? What if you get ganked? I thought top lane was supposed to AFK farm?"
Well to you I say, it's probably a bit past your bed time. Sesame street will be on early in the morning and you need to rest cause tomorrow's a big day!
NO SCARED BULLSPIT OK!?
We are not ENDANGERING ourselves by opening ourselves to attack from the jungler!!!
We are FORCING their jungler to come attack us!
WE ARE BARBARIANS! We don't CARE if we get ganked! All that means is we press R, walk away, and either heal off of creeps or go back to base. Hell, MAYBE I'll flash if they have red buff... MAYBE.
Or maybe I'll just kill the jungler because the top lane is too scared and low HP to fight me. Or maybe I'll get a double kill because my passive and my healing with W and Wriggle's Lantern is OP. Trust me, it happens more than you might think.
Just be sure to realistically gauge the HP of your lane opponent, try to consider your ability to heal, escape, and damage with E, and realistically evaluate the scenarios. Fight or flight, it's up to you, but DON'T be a scared little sucka. Learn to push and how and when and why to use your abilities. Map CONTROL AND PRESSURE... These are tools and fundamentals that can be used to obtain victory in this game.
If they do manage kill you?
Teleport back in and keep pushing. You give no ****s. You are Olaf.
Eventually you'll get Warmog's Armor . You are now invincible. Later, you will get Atma's Impaler, Trinity Force, and Force of Nature. Hooray, you're now the fastest, meanest Offtank ever. Your mission is to burst squishies, and your ultimate is your God send. You are tanky enough to initiate, and strong enough to nuke a squishy, so make sure you are vocal with your team about your objective.
"Come guys, I am super strong, let's fight hard. I will focus Ashe and she cannot stop me."
This is how Solo top Olaf works.
Push hard, push strong. Wins fights. GG.
Why not jungle? Is Olaf a bad jungler?
Actually no. Olaf is a good jungler.
His ganks are very good (Unlike what most will tell you)
His speed is very good.
He's a very "good jungler"
But, there's simply not enough gold and levels in the jungler for a gold and level reliant champion like Olaf.
If you jungle Olaf, you'll feel weak mid game.
If you solo lane him, you will feel strong all game.
Why build tanky? Why not build more damage?
Well, some of you might have read my original Offtanks guide and some of you may have not read it.
Either way, that's fine.
In this game; there is only one concept you need to understand when it comes to teamfights.
We need to kill them before they kill us.
There's lots of ways to go about doing this, and since every champion is UNIQUE, every champion has a SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT method.
Olaf's preferred method, is being really durable. He has lots of damage in his abilities. You can't CC him if he doesn't want you to. He is the freight train that comes plowing into the team and there's nothing you can do about it.
Because of the fact that he CAN plow into the team and there is nothing that can be done about it (Other than Olaf only Poppy really comes to mind in terms of champions that cannot be stopped.) it's best if Olaf is really Durable. This will allow you to quite literally dive into 4 players and start fights on YOUR terms. Funny thing about AD carries is that they don't deal any damage when they're running away or dead.
Olaf is great because he can both OFFTANK, AND ANTI CARRY, at the same time. Not every Offtank can say that.
Let's evaluate the choice of gear?
Okay, why did I take these items?
This is a perfect example of changes to a champion making him FIT the current meta PERFECTLY. Olaf has become TAILOR MADE to these gear selections, which are currently disproportionately strong to other choices. Warmog's Armor is an imbalanced item right now. Olaf uses it masterfully.
Also, it might sound trivial to the newer players, but MOVE SPEED, IS, PARAMOUNT.
You either need to have move speed in your gear, or you need to take ghost.
LUCKILY, The best items for Olaf ALREADY HAVE move speed. So you can take Flash :) Flash is great for catching runners with your axe. It's great for lane phase, a champion might be a little bit lower than they realize, and a good Flash E will be the end of them.
So Trinity Force and Force of Nature = 20% move speed, and that's plenty. Remember we also have the 3% in our masteries, and I don't recall what the total is after diminishing returns are factored, but it's enough for our function here. You're a speedy Barbarian.
Wriggle's Lantern; Obviously, this is our tool to a free lane phase, and is useful all game. Armor and Life steal, that is why we are buying Wriggle's. The damage is secondary. Pair this with W and nothing can stop you in lane. Also, you get wards while you're pushing. (Buy more wards as well, because then you'll have deep deep vision of your opponents when they come to gank you and there will be no surprises.) This is one of two super core items.
Warmog's Armor; Our second super core item. HP is what you need on any offtank. Warmog's Armor brings us to roughly 3500 HP by itself. We can build resistances and get tanky, and even pair it with Atma's Impaler, perfect synergy with Olaf's kit and with his W. After these two items, your build sequence can change all you like. Keep in mind, you are buying Warmog's Armor for the durability, NOT because you're trying to get more damage out of Atma's Impaler.
Atma's Impaler; Atma's Impaler is almost core on Olaf. It will bring us to almost 300 AD when W is activated and we have a well stacked Warmog's Armor, a Wriggle's Lantern and a Trinity Force. We'll be getting quite a lot of crits as well, so just keep in mind that Atma's Impaler = synergy with Olaf. Not just with Warmog's Armor, with Olaf. When you buy Atma's Impaler, be sure to buy a Green pot and have a Green pot activated at all times for the rest of the game. It makes a massive difference.
Trinity Force; This item is on par with Atma's Impaler. There is enough damage and utility in Trinity Force, that sometimes you don't need to buy Atma's Impaler. It just depends on the game. (In most cases you will be buying both Atma's Impaler and Trinity Force, it's just too damn good of a combo and they both Synergize so well with Olaf and with each other.) Slows, move speed, AD, crit chance, HP, mana, etc etc etc... This item was made for Olaf.
It has a 150% damage proc which synergizes with blowing up squishies. That's what we're here to do, so that's why we're taking Trinity Force.
Force of Nature; Well, we're going to need an MR item if we want to be a tanky champion, and this item is just perfect. More move speed, more MR than anything else (Meaning it can be our only MR item which frees up our inventory for other good stuff.) and we get some nice HP regen passives which do help over the course of a game. This item is fairly core but it's not a "Must buy" item.
Ninja Tabi; Get da nike's dog, Dodge and armor, need I say more? End game your only threat will be AD auto attackers or sustained DPS AP, and there aren't many sustained DPS AP champions, so dodge is really strong. Having abour 20% dodge makes a world of difference, so I generally buy Ninja Tabi.
Mercury's Treads; I also buy Merc a LOT, do NOT think that 6 seconds of cannot be CC'd means you'll never be slowed or stunned. You will be CC'd sometimes, and for that, Mercury's Treads are GREAT, and 25 MR is no joke.
Think of it this way~ Auto attackers with full gear are the #1 threat to you. Champions like Vayne, Kogmaw, Caitlyn, etc, who can deal massive damage with their attacks, when they start to get into that "Big DPS" category with Last Whisper and are ignoring chunks or your armor or dealing Magic/True damage, that's when it's time to make sure you have Ninja Tabi. In most games there will be an AD carry, so you'll want to be buying the Ninja Tabi often. Not to mention when it comes to cost to effect Ninja Tabi are out of proportion to other boots, they are one of the best buys.
If there is no big damage auto attack threat, you're safer to simply build armor and MR and use the Merc Tread's.
Now what? Full up on items?
Sell Wriggle's and buy your final item.
Guardian Angel; obvious reasons, big resistances + Warmogg's armor = profit. Passive is great, allows you to play like a real man and fight hard without fear of death. One of the best finisher items on Olaf.
Randuin's Omen; Your main threat is the enemy AD carry, and if they build Last Whisper, You should seriously consider Randuin's Omen. It's a great way to get your enemies killed for targetting you, and the active is phenomenal on Olaf. (You run in and cannot be CC'd, and CC everyone.) This is a fantastic finishing item, one of the best.
Quicksilver Sash; LOL, nice CC bro'z, let me just Quiksilver Sash that. Oh you get some more? Time for my ult, which now breaks CC's. Yes, this may seem like over kill, but it's a cheap item, with an absolutely spectacular active, and it let's you save your ult longer. This is a solid choice for Olaf, even if it does seem cheesy and redundant ;P
Madred's Bloodrazor; Some armor, lots of attack speed, a chunk of AD, and an amazing passive. This is a truly -excellent- choice against teams with 2-3 tanky champions who are making your life difficult. The damage output is excellent and the synergy with Olaf and previous gear choices is there. It's a strong pick. (I have used Madred's Bloodrazor in probably 5 games total on Olaf, but it was never regretted. It's just a bit too expensive to be core but it's very strong.) This is your best bet in close games where you need more damage in your closing item.
Infinity Edge; Stomping? Want real damagez? Heuhuehue. Nothing gives more damage than I.E, and Olaf can actually use damage pretty darn well. Might as well remember that fact, and keep in mind that I.E is an option (I have only done this once but it did work preeetty well.) I prefer more resistances and defensive items, but that game was a stomp.
Thornmail; Hmmm. Tryndamere is really really fed. So is Vayne :( If your enemies are NOT SUPER FED, DO NOT BUY THIS ITEM. THORNMAIL IS A BAD ITEM UNLESS YOU LITERALLY CANNOT FIGHT YOUR OPPONENTS DUE TO THEIR DAMAGE. IF YOU CAN WIN FIGHTS WITHOUT Thornmail, KEEP IT THAT WAY, AND DON'T FKING BUY IT.
Frozen Heart; Similar in effect to Randuin's but I feel it's not as good for Olaf. You will get more E's, and that's good. I'd say stick to the Randuin's Omen in most games, personally.
Banshee's Veil; Good item, but I'm not personally a big fan of this for Olaf. I say just stick with the QSS and learn to play. If you can't use your QSS, then BV might be a decent albeit expensive and inferior substitute.
Frozen Mallet; We have HP in Warmogg's armor and Slows in Trinity Force. We don't need this. Good item but there's no need for it, we have everything that this item has in a more efficient and effective package for Olaf.
The Bloodthirster; Not too bad, not too good. I prefer more resistances and defensive items.
Last Whisper; Nope, don't need it. We kill squishies. Tanks can't fight us 1v1 anyway, our E has true damage.
Youmuu's Ghostblade; It's okay. We have bigger fish to fry and more important items to buy. Again like Frozen Mallet, not a bad item for Olaf but also not ideal, and we want ideal.
The Black Cleaver; Not bad, but there are better options.
Zeke's Harbinger; Do not buy this.
Sunfire Cape; Do not buy this.
Wit's End; Do not buy this.
Sword of the Divine; Sounds good in theory, but we won't need this in 95% of games. I'm not gonna tell you not to buy it butttt... Don't buy it, lol.
Phantom Dancer; We have Trinity Force, and it's got plenty of AS and Crit, don't buy this. We need resistances and defense in those other inventory slots.
Get strong, push top, farm like crazy, deny your opponent farm.
Pressure map, force enemy jungler to react to -you- when you are strong, which will free up your other lanes from the pressure. You should be able to get dragons and towers easily if your jungler is capable at all.
Use Teleport wisely. Get some "E" harass in before you plan to base, and then go base. Start your lane again with a free advantage. Teleport at the right time to secure dragon. If you're strong enough to win lane, then you don't need your tower. Trading top tower and getting dragon is ALWAYS worth it if you are strong. If you are weak, letting them break the tower actually allows you to farm in safety while the wave pushes deeper into your lane.
However, BREAK THEIRS TOO~ If you're strong, and you're trading towers to get Dragons, don't let the game go on too long before you take their towers. That way you'll bring your advantage back in, and the Dragons will start to pay off in the long run.
TL;DR, **** top tower, get the dragons.
If you can time it well, you can base FIRST, AND GO run TO THE DRAGON, AND GET THE DRAGON, AND THEN Teleport TOP.
Olaf is totally capable of soloing dragon when he has Wriggle's Lantern, so you can get Dragon at any time then, organize your team and be prepared to Teleport top.
Olaf can also eventually solo Baron ( Warmogg's armor / Wriggle's Lantern / Atma's Impaler / Trinity Force), but as soon as you have Wriggle's Lantern and Warmogg's armor you can easily tank it for your team to help kill it. Be sure to organize baron attempts if your team gets a few kills and you know baron is a realistic goal.
Olaf with a level advantage.
Yeah. If you think AP carries scale well with levels? Wait till you eat 340 true damage in the mouth a few times. We'll see how you feel about that.
Oh and did I forget to mention, as you sink points into your W, your sustain gets better and better and you become damn near impossible to deal with in lane.
I.E; Olaf's scaling as a solo top champion with levels makes AP mid champions sad and jealous in their hearts. He does more with levels than most champions in the game. Probably more than any champion in the game right now.
This is because he scales BOTH his damage AND his survivability as he gains levels, with points in E and W.
Why Armor/MR reds?
Because our damage in lane is coming from E, and that's all we care about.
I could take HP quints, and lane would be even easier, but those don't scale well into late game the same way that Armor and MR do when you build Warmogg's armor.
This is my personal preference, to build super tank runes and use my E for damage and later Trinity Force procs etc.
You can experiment with ArP runes and the like, but I can tell you right now it's not as good :)
No, I'm not joking when I say this.
JUST get through the early game, and get your gold to get Wriggle's Lantern
Once you have Wriggle's Lantern, snowball into end game and win for free. I haven't found ANYTHING that beats me badly in lane once I have Wriggle's Lantern, only things that go even with me.
You can be getting trashed in the early game, and come back with Wriggle's Lantern and suddenly E your way to victory in no time.
It's that serious.
Match ups~ (Work in progress)
Anybody who is good at a champion, feel free to PM me or comment here and I will be glad to run a match up with you in a custom game.
Please, I would appreciate it. I love to run these match ups and learn who really is the "Advantage" in a match up. It's beneficial to everybody to find out.
So far, match ups.
Nasus; Heavy advantage Olaf at all stages.
Wukong; I've gone in with arguably the best Wukong player in the world, Chandro, and in custom game tests, the fights were very even. Olaf ended up coming out with a slight advantage in most trades but the kills were fairly even at the end, I think it was like 3-2 or 4-3 advantage Olaf. CS was something like 160-140 or so; in a live match I think it would be safe to call it a draw or potentially even slight advantage Wukong because Decoy would potentially save him from ganks more reliably than Olaf ult might, but that's entirely speculation.
TL;DR, Wukong is a fairly even match up if both players are skilled.
Renekton; Fairly even early, you'll win if you take enough armor. Olaf takes Advantage hard later.
Galio; Not a steep lane advantage either way, but Olaf outscales Galio and eventually wins the lane.
Gragas; The only lane I've ever gone even with Olaf so far. No advantage.
Garen; Advantage Olaf.
Irelia; Advantage Olaf so far, skilled IRelia players PM me.
Jax; Advantage Olaf so far, any skilled Jax players please PM me.
Kennen; Needs testing.
Rumble; With proper runes, it's close early, and later becomes advantage Olaf.
Tryndamere; Free win Olaf. Any skilled Tryndamere players, please PM me. So far all comers have lost steeply, including 1700 players.
Warwick; Olaf has won both of my custom game WW tests. One of them was VERY close, I feel the lane was slight advantage Olaf, but in a live match it would be more of a draw due to junglers ruining aggressive plays.
Xin Zhao; Needs testing
Cho'Gath; Advantage Olaf, but dangerous with jungle ganks + Cho'Gath ulti.
Gangplank; Potentially a tough lane early, becomes advantage Olaf later.
Akali; Needs testing, I suspect this may be a difficult lane for Olaf.
Ryze; Very difficult lane for Olaf. It becomes a stand still, you farm carefully, jungle ganks are SO dangerous if you're not careful. This is probably the hardest lane I've faced yet.
Yorick; Difficult lane for Olaf early, but Olaf out-scales Yorick and comes back to win the lane later. In recent tests, Yorick put Olaf down hard enough that Olaf never came back.
Lee Sin; If you can dodge Q's or use minions to block them, and have Armor runes, you will win this lane without too much trouble.
Riven; Thanks to a stupid troll, I have remembered that Riven is an easy match up, and she loses for free.
Karma; Good and even lane, potentially even advantage Karma early. If you play smart and understand Olaf well, you can get through to your items and snowball the lane back to victory.
Nidalee; This wasn't terribly difficult for Olaf. He wins the lane if you know how to trade with Nidalee and dont let her get you low enough HP to be executed.
(Updating over time, please PM me if you want to work on some match ups or you suspect you have a counter to Olaf in lane.)
Any questions, concerns, thoughts~
Please find me on Facebook/Twitter if you have any questions and contact me there, as I will not be updating these guides any longer or checking in to answer questions!
Sorry for the inconveniance, look forward to seeing your questions on Facebook and Twitter! =]
Hope you enjoy it~
And learn to adapt to the new style of play for Olaf.
Get your licks in now, he's completely broken and sooner or later he's gonna get nerfed.